Nokia and Microsoft recently announced a partnership. Nokia’s smartphones will run Windows 7. This is exciting news! Nokia has too many phones, their lineup is confusing. Mike Elgan from ComputerWorld shares his insights on this announcement. I’ll summarize below.

To get a glimpse of why Nokia is failing in the smartphone industry, look no further than their website. It is unfocused, confusing, and the photos are tiny. There are dozens of phones to choose from with no immediate indication as to which is best.

On the other hand, if you want to buy a phone from Apple, they offer one phone. Their product is easy to understand and they use great photos. For Nokia to succeed in the years to come, they need to simplify. Elgan suggested an extremely minimal approach Nokia should take. Imagine if Nokia were to sell just two phones.

  • A smartphone
    Not just any smartphone, Nokia’s smartphone. By pouring the collective energy and wisdom of Microsoft and Nokia into a phone, they could create a smartphone that equals, and even rivals, their competitors. Make something unique and amazing, pack it so powerful that it overwhelms the competition. Focus all your energy on one smartphone.
  • A simple phone
    Nokia knows the basics of what a phone needs. They’ve spent significant resources researching what kind of phone is needed in remote places, such as the African bush. They’ve made some amazing products, phones that are durable and cheap. Nokia should take the knowledge they have and create the most basic and durable phone known to man. Its battery life would be measured in days and weeks, not hours.

Making such drastic changes and reducing their product line down to two phones would be radical for Nokia. It could redefine Microsoft and Nokia and secure their future in the mobile wars. Get rid of the junk, cut out everything and focus on two amazing and high quality phones. Can they do this? I don’t know, but I really hope so. Having a third player in the Android and IOS rivalry would be refreshing!

Update: Check out Steve Job’s advice to Nike about their product line.